Merchant Shipping Act 2010


Safe manning regulations.

59.— (1) The Minister may, in relation to any ships to which this Chapter applies, make regulations (“safe manning regulations”)—

(a) prescribing requirements and principles for the appropriate minimum safe manning of ships,

(b) setting out guidelines for the application of principles for the appropriate minimum safe manning of ships,

(c) regulating the procedures for the submission of proposals and application for a minimum safe manning document by or on behalf of the owner of an Irish ship to which this Chapter applies, and

(d) regulating any consequential, incidental, ancillary and supplementary matters including, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, the charging of fees as the Minister considers necessary or expedient.

(2) Without prejudice to subsection (1) safe manning regulations may include requirements for the following to be taken into account in determining the minimum safe manning of a ship—

(a) the capability to—

(i) maintain safe navigational, engineering and radio watches and general surveillance of the ship,

(ii) moor and unmoor the ship safely,

(iii) manage the safety functions of the ship when employed in a stationary or near-stationary mode at sea,

(iv) perform operations, as appropriate, for the prevention of damage to the marine environment,

(v) maintain the safety arrangement and the cleanliness of all accessible spaces to minimise the risk of fire,

(vi) provide for medical care on board the ship,

(vii) ensure safe carriage of cargo during transit,

(viii) inspect and maintain the structural integrity of the ship, and

(ix) operate in accordance with the approved ship’s security plan, where relevant,

(b) the ability to—

(i) operate all watertight closing arrangements and maintain them in effective condition, and also deploy a competent damage control party,

(ii) operate all on-board fire-fighting and emergency equipment and life-saving appliances, carry out such maintenance of this equipment as is required to be done at sea, and muster and disembark all persons on board, and

(iii) operate the main propulsion and auxiliary machinery and maintain them in a safe condition to enable the ship to overcome the foreseeable perils of the voyage,


(c) any other special considerations in relation to the operation of a vessel or class of vessel.

(3) In prescribing requirements and principles for minimum safe manning of ships the Minister shall take account of—

(a) relevant national and international law relating to—

(i) watchkeeping,

(ii) hours of work or rest,

(iii) safety management,

(iv) certification of seafarers,

(v) training of seafarers,

(vi) occupational health and hygiene, and

(vii) crew accommodation,


(b) where applicable—

(i) on-board functions in relation to training requirements for all personnel, including the operation of fire-fighting and emergency equipment, life-saving appliances, watertight closing arrangements, specialised training requirements for particular types of ships and training opportunities for entrant seafarers,

(ii) provision of proper food and drinking water, and

(iii) need to undertake emergency duties and responsibilities.

(4) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the Minister may, in making safe manning regulations, specify the information which must be submitted in the proposals for a minimum safe manning document including requirements for the following matters, namely—

(a) details of ship’s name, port of registry, distinctive number or letters, IMO number, where relevant, gross tonnage, main propulsion power, type and area of operation and whether or not the machinery space is unattended,

(b) a table showing the number and grades or capacities or both of the personnel assessed by the owner as the minimum safe manning complement required to be carried, together with any special conditions or other relevant observations in regard to same, and

(c) particulars of the assessment by the owner upon which the proposed minimum safe manning complement of personnel was assessed.

(5) In making safe manning regulations the Minister may categorise ships into different classes having regard to one or more of the following, where appropriate—

(a) the size, or configuration of such ships,

(b) the service for which such ships are to be employed,

(c) the nature and duration of voyages to be undertaken,

(d) the type of cargo carried including the severity of the environmental and safety hazards involved,

(e) the age and date of construction of ships, and

(f) such other matter or matters that the Minister considers appropriate to take into account in the circumstances.

(6) Different safe manning regulations may be made in respect of different classes of ships and in relation to different classes of ships for different circumstances and different areas of operation.

(7) Safe manning regulations shall include such requirements as appear to the Minister to be necessary to implement the provisions of regulation 14 of Chapter V of the Annex to the Safety Convention taking account of the IMO principles of safe manning.

(8) The powers conferred on the Minister by this Chapter are in addition to the powers conferred by any other enactment enabling him or her to prescribe requirements for ships to carry numbers and categories of masters and crew and the standards of competence for such personnel.

(9) Any fees under subsection (1) shall be paid into or disposed of for the benefit of the Exchequer.


Modifications (not altering text):


Application of chapter (ss. 57-63) restricted (1.07.2023) by European Union (international Labour Organisation Work in Fishing Convention) (Safe Manning) Regulations 2023 (S.I. No. 315 of 2023), reg. 4, in effect as per reg. 1(2).


4. These Regulations apply to fishing vessels of 15 metres in Loa and over. Consequently, Chapter 6 of the Act of 2010 no longer applies to fishing vessels 24 metres in length and over.

Editorial Notes:


Power pursuant to section exercised (1.07.2023) by Merchant Shipping (Solas V-Safe Manning and Watchkeeping) Regulations 2023 (S.I. No. 314 of 2023), in effect as per reg. 1(2).